The US Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) has granted research funds to the MIT Energy Initiative, Core Power, and the Idaho National Laboratory for a three-year study into the development of offshore floating nuclear power generation in the US.

The NEUP funding will allow detailed collaborative research into the economic and environmental benefits of floating advanced nuclear power generation and take a granular look at all aspects of building, operating, maintaining, and decommissioning such facilities.

‘It is an important step forward for Core Power to be working with the world-renowned MIT Energy Initiative,’ says Mikal Bøe, Chairman and CEO of UK-based Core Power. ‘We believe this will help us take the next step in bringing ground-breaking new nuclear technology to the maritime market.’

Also read: C-Job: Ships could sail on nuclear power in the future

Hydrogen hub programme

The US Department of Energy (DOE) earlier announced its intention to fund and develop regional clean hydrogen hubs (H2Hubs) across America, one of which must be powered by nuclear. Funding would come from the USD 1.2-trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The hydrogen hub programme is an 8-billion programme to bring together stakeholders to help drive down the cost of advanced hydrogen production, transport, storage, and utilisation across multiple sectors in the economy. In 2021, the DOE also launched the Hydrogen Shot to cut the cost of clean hydrogen to USD 1 per 1 kg of clean hydrogen in one decade, nicknamed “1-1-1”.

‘This NEUP project will among other things look at how a nuclear-powered H2Hub off the coast of the US could set the scene and demonstrate how we make hydrogen production, safe, cheap and reliable by placing the production unit offshore,’ Bøe adds.

‘As the US moves to decarbonise diverse industries, including shipping, we will have to explore and understand novel applications of technologies like nuclear and hydrogen production. This NEUP project will help us do that,’states John Parsons, the Principal Investigator on the project and Associate Director for Research at MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy.

Also read: ABS to research advanced nuclear technology for commercial shipping

Aligning nuclear energy research

NEUP seeks to align the nuclear energy research being conducted at US colleges and universities with DOE’s mission and goals. The programme supports projects that focus on the needs and priorities of key Office of Nuclear Energy programmes, including fuel cycle, reactor concepts, and mission-supporting research. The research will run in parallel to proof-of-concept prototype reactors currently being developed in the US at the Idaho National Laboratory.

Also read: The three key criteria for new-nuclear in maritime